U.S. Customs and Border Protection plans to adopt facial recognition technology starting next month at airports across the country. The service will be offered beginning at John F. Kennedy International Airport following a successful trial run at Washington Dulles International Airport. The program, known officially as the 1-to-1 Facial Comparison Project, will specifically be used to confirm the identity of travelers carrying electronic passports embedded with computer chips containing a digital picture of the passport holder. The system works by comparing the digitally-stored picture in the passport with one taken immediately upon presentation of the traveler to customs and border protection for entry into the United States. The technology then rates the match comparison between the two photos on a 0 to 100 scale. Although CBP officials claim that such additional biometric capability will protect legitimate travelers from issues related to identify theft and fraud, civil liberty activists have opposed the program as an overly-invasive surveillance method with the potential for widespread abuse.
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